Zelenka's Vivace?

  • Zelenka enthusiasts,

    I'm preparing Missa Gracias animus tibi. There are several places where "vivace" is indicated but where it seems clear the section should be slow and somewhat somber, e.g., number 3 Laudamus, number 4, Qui Hollis, opening of number 17 Agnus Dei. Can anyone shed any light on this?

    also, Zelenka seems to use "Adagio" for "ritard." That's easy enough to work through, but there are many places of short adagios (sometimes also marked "ad libitum") in the middle of movements that look like they might be for cadenzas. Recordings I've heard generally ignore these. Any tips?

    Finally there's a cadenza marked for two voices at the end of number 3. How do you handle that?

    Thanks in advance for any light you can shed on these questions!


  • Hello,

    Congratulation on choosing that beautiful work !

    In the Carus Verlag edition, Thomas Kohlhase gives many tips like

    "Die Vorschrift Adagio meint in den wenigsten Fällen ein neues, langsames Tempo, sondern meist ein ritartendo ..."

    and some words about cadence, ad libitum etc...

    In the book "The Interpretation of Early Music" (R. Donington),

    p386, "Time-words are notoriously vague. They often relate strictly to mood, not to tempo"

    p390, Leopold Mozart defines vivace as "lively ... midway between fast and slow"

    In the recording by Belohlavek (Supraphon, 1990) the tempi of #3, #4 and #17 are vivace and sound fine to my enthusiastic ears.

    Overall the tempi sound correct, even though a new performance, knowing all the recent recordings, would be welcome.


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